County keeps lobbyist for $60K a year
ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has agreed to keep a lobbyist working as an advocate for the county in Albany at $5,000 a month or $60,000 annually.
The Legislature last week voted to renew its agreement with Park Strategies, effective May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018.
That is the same amount the county has paid the lobbying each of the past two years.
Legislature Chairman David Callard said Park Strategies has been worth the money, by helping the county better connect with state officials on many issues, including more state investment in canal bridges and the Lake Ontario State Parkway.
The state last year announced an “unprecedented” push to bolster 17 canal bridges in the region, including seven in Orleans County, DOT Regional Director Kevin Bush said.
The state DOT also is planning $14 million in paving and improvements to the Parkway starting at Route 237 in Kendall and heading east into Monroe County.
The DOT’s capital plan for the region also includes $13 million for canal bridges in Orleans in 2017-18. Those bridges are about 100 years old.
The ones identified for improvements include Bates Road in Ridgeway, Bennetts Corners in Murray, Densmore Road in Gaines, Gaines Basin Road in Albion, Marshall Road in Ridgeway, Telegraph Road in Murray and Transit Road in Albion.
The DOT also plans major rehab work to the Main Street lift bridge in Albion as well as the lift bridge in Brockport. The work on those two lift bridges is pegged at $7.8 million in 2018-19.
The county also secured grants for Marine Park upgrades and a planning grant to update a lakefront development study for the towns of Yates, Carlton and Kendall.
“They’re integrally involved in our overall strategy,” Callard said during last week’s County Legislature meeting. “It’s been very worthwhile.”
Legislator Ken DeRoller said Park Strategies has helped get county officials “in the room” with state leaders, so the county officials could press for funding for the bridges, the Parkway and other concerns. Park Strategies helped set up a meeting with the Department of State for the updated plan for Yates, Carlton and Kendall, DeRoller said.
“It’s an opportunity to get us in the right place and right time to influence Orleans County,” DeRoller said.